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01 April 2021
‘Blind box’ retail is taking China by storm
Influencers, KOLsPackagingGreater China
Blind boxes, which began as a fun way to buy collectable toy figures, are increasingly being used by online retailers and social media across China to combine the excitement of gambling, collectability and gamification.
An extension of the ‘lucky bag’ idea, blind boxes have gone mainstream in China over the last year, as a wide range of sectors, including beauty and fashion, have used the surprise product idea on social media platforms such as WeChat and Douyin.
As sales have moved online, an online community of blind-box enthusiasts has developed, boosted by influencers who share what they have bought.
Brands are introducing innovative takes on the blind box idea to expand its appeal and keep it fresh: fashion label Lanvin used blind boxes to direct customers to its WeChat account where it created a blind box-like game. It had 50,000 players in a month – five times more than the average page views of its WeChat articles.
It’s not for every category. An attempt to use the idea to sell live pets ran into problems when concerns were raised about delivery methods and customers’ reaction if they were unhappy with the animal that showed up at their door.
“From a sales and marketing standpoint, the appeal of blind boxes comes around the ability to scale up and reach new engaged audiences” – Jenny Zhang, strategic director of UK-based marketing agency Tong Digital.